Ynth platformer/puzzler forces you to think outside of the box

Posted: August 26, 2009 in Platformer, Puzzle

Unique, surprising, addicting…three words that really sum up Ynth. I’ll tell you that I wasn’t sold when I first saw the screenshots for this game. In fact, it did nothing for me until I actually started playing with it. “Hidden gem” would seem to apply here, but the phrase can be a double-edged sword because while it means that this is a solid and entertaining platform/puzzle game, it also alludes to the fact that no one is paying it particular attention. As with Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor, Ynth is a highly original game deserving of attention and success with its imaginative and engaging gameplay.

Playing a ladybug named Kribl may not sound like your idea of a good time, but it’s the simplicity throughout that makes Ynth highly playable and enjoyable. You’re tasked with getting Kribl across a mucky swamp, and the only things at your disposal are boxes. While Kribl isn’t most able-bodied bug and can’t fly, he can move, jump and most importantly push. Getting inside boxes each with its own unique maze, you’ll need to tap into Kribl’s ability to push and rotate them across the swamp to reach the exit on the other side.

Visually, the game is presented in 2D graphics paired with a mellow soundtrack, which together, create a certain charm and personality. The art style is reminiscent of the old school cutout cartoons from way back when providing just enough detail so you know what you’re looking at. With 61 progressively difficult levels two of which are unlocked for each one that is successfully completed, you have the opportunity to skip around or go back to revisit previous levels to reach the fastest time.

As I mentioned, Ynth is combines elements of a platformer with those of a physics-based puzzle, and something that sets Ynth apart from typical games is that the levels don’t play the same most notably because of falling spiky fruit. Impacting your strategy, these strange creatures/fruit that fall from the trees conveniently end up inside the box, and they’re dangerous to Kribl. Once inside the box, you’ll want to keep Kribl from becoming a ladybug shish-kebab.

Moving Kribl around is actually rather simple, and for me, this is what makes the game a gem. When I first saw the controls set-up, my initial impression was that they were clunky. But, when you start using them, you realize how perfect they are for this type of game. The controls are intuitively simple, simple enough that you’ll easily be playing without much of a learning curve if at all. The game consists of four control buttons: two at the top control Kribl’s jumping abilities while the bottom two allows left/right movement as well pushing the box. The best part is you can move forwards and backwards so you can reassess your strategy.

One word sums up the gameplay—terrific. Don’t let the game’s simplistic looks fool you. Ynth requires quick thinking especially with the spiky fruit in play, and let’s not forget about the swamp outside of the box. Kribl can be pretty fleet footed in a matter speaking since he can jump well and has enough strength to push boxes. Inside the box can be small mazes as well as spikes and springs that can either help or hinder Kribl, and what he needs is your eyes outside of the box. Many times, anticipation is essential as you think several moves ahead anticipating where Kribl will be or needs to do in order to reach the exit. As I said, getting a ladybug from one end to the other sounds relatively easy, but the game can be downright frustrating. I actually felt bad when Kribl drowns in the marsh or inadvertently gets stabbed by the spiky fruit. Moving around is almost second nature, and you’ll easily find the gameplay addicting enough to try over and over again.

Ynth is a creatively original game combining elements of platformer and puzzler with just the right amount of randomness to make this a winner. Frankly, there’s very little to criticize and from the game’s presentation to the gameplay, Ynth offers a uniquely different experience that should appeal to a broad audience. This is truly a hidden gem that I hope isn’t hidden for too much longer.

Albie Meter: 5 Stars (highly original platformer/puzzler that many should find entertaining and fun; intuitive controls and terrific gameplay makes Ynth deserving of hitting the Top 100)

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